Pot Shots: Cannabis Cult | MetroactivePosted by On


BELIEVERS: Anne Armstrogn and Alan Gordon, leaders of The Healing Church, a cannabis-based Christian sect located in Rhode Island.  Photo by Julian Borger/The Guardian

BELIEVERS: Anne Armstrogn and Alan Gordon, leaders of The Healing Church, a cannabis-based Christian sect located in Rhode Island. Photo by Julian Borger/The Guardian

Cannabis and spiritually have always been intertwined, with various degrees of validity and seriousness.

It was used as an entheogen (a psychoactive substance used in religious practices) as far back as ancient India, and some Hindus still consume bhang, an elixir that contains cannabis, in their spiritual practices. The Buddhist Mahakala Tantra specifically mentions cannabis as a medicinal plant. Cannabis is, of course, central to Rastafarianism.

But even among many otherwise irreligious cannabis users, pot is often treated totemically. In the 1970s, a lot of guys walked around with weed-leaf belt buckles. These days, online comments are filled with people who clearly think shamanistically about pot, even if they use it only to get high and play videogames or watch Adult Swim, and not for any genuine spiritual purpose.

And like many cultists, a lot of them believe a lot of nonsense: that hemp will “save the world,” or that cannabis will cure any disease, just for a couple of examples. That approach has been formalized, sort of, by the THC Ministry, which started in 2000 in Hawaii and now has a presence in a few dozen states, including California.

There are no real religious precepts behind that…

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BELIEVERS: Anne Armstrogn and Alan Gordon, leaders of The Healing Church, a cannabis-based Christian sect located in Rhode Island.  Photo by Julian Borger/The Guardian

BELIEVERS: Anne Armstrogn and Alan Gordon, leaders of The Healing Church, a cannabis-based Christian sect located in Rhode Island. Photo by Julian Borger/The Guardian

Cannabis and spiritually have always been intertwined, with various degrees of validity and seriousness.

It was used as an entheogen (a psychoactive substance used in religious practices) as far back as ancient India, and some Hindus still consume bhang, an elixir that contains cannabis, in their spiritual practices. The Buddhist Mahakala Tantra specifically mentions cannabis as a medicinal plant. Cannabis is, of course, central to Rastafarianism.

But even among many otherwise irreligious cannabis users, pot is often treated totemically. In the 1970s, a lot of guys walked around with weed-leaf belt buckles. These days, online comments are filled with people who clearly think shamanistically about pot, even if they use it only to get high and play videogames or watch Adult Swim, and not for any genuine spiritual purpose.

And like many cultists, a lot of them believe a lot of nonsense: that hemp will “save the world,” or that cannabis will cure any disease, just for a couple of examples. That approach has been formalized, sort of, by the THC Ministry, which started in 2000 in Hawaii and now has a presence in a few dozen states, including California.

There are no real religious precepts behind that…



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